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Utah on legislation to stop aggressive driving, Tennessee increases speed limits and NHTSA plans to implement impaired driving technology

Utah: legislation to combat aggressive driving

The state of Utah has enacted a new bill aimed at addressing public concern over the aggressiveness of many drivers on state highways.

According to data provided by the Utah Department of Transportation, there has been an average of 25 deaths annually due to aggressive driving in the state over the past four years. This marks a significant increase from the previous total of 14 annual deaths for this cause.

This new legislation will define aggression by a driver in response to a roadway incident, with the intention of endangering or intimidating another individual in a vehicle, as a criminal offense. Such acts will be considered “road rage” and will carry additional penalties.

In addition to possible jail sentences, police could seize a vehicle without a court order if there is probable cause to believe it was involved in an act of road rage, with a seizure fee of $400. A judge could also suspend the offender’s driver’s license, with repeat offenses within a year leading to mandatory revocation.

Some state legislators express doubts about the new legislation. Representative Jordan Teuscher shared with the committee his belief that while he acknowledges the seriousness of the problem, he is not convinced that increasing penalties will change driver behavior. He emphasized that controlling emotions and anger in the moment is difficult.

Representative Paul Cutler admitted that passing a law alone will not eliminate people’s anger. Cutler included a provision in the bill to use fines related to infractions to help fund a road rage education campaign.

En la imagen se muestra un conductor agresivo

Tennessee: speed limit increase

On Monday, March 4, Tennessee approved an increase in the speed limit on Interstate 81 in Sullivan County. The new limit will be 70 mph for all vehicles, compared to the previous 65 mph for cars and 55 mph for trucks. Signage will be updated in the coming days.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation noted that the change is a result of recent spot speed studies, crash analysis, and a goal of speed zone continuity. Similarly to the recent change in Tennessee, New York and Indiana are considering adopting a more uniform speed limit for all vehicles. Meanwhile, Maryland is planning to reduce speed limits on urban highways in the state.

En la imagen se muestra un señalamiento de límite de velocidad

NHTSA seeks to incorporate technology to prevent drunk driving in new vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is exploring the possibility of implementing technology in new passenger vehicles to prevent drunk drivers from taking the wheel.

The agency accepted comments for about two months and received approximately 18,000 comments. Mostly, these comments expressed opposition, concerned about potential government overreach. However, there were also comments in favor of excluding drivers with impairments.

The NHTSA acknowledges that there are still challenges with the technology, such as differentiating between impairment states and preventing false positives, as well as applying appropriate countermeasures.

“Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of accidents and deaths on U.S. roads,” said the agency. According to data recorded by the NHTSA, 13,384 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2021. The administration is seeking solutions to this national issue.

En la imagen se muestra alguien a punto de conducir ebrio
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